I inherited a classic Notes audit application that was written in version 7. Rather than rewriting it, I figure I’d give TeamStudio Unplugged a chance to modernize this application and give it new purpose. The intention of this post is to share my experience with the TeamStudio Unplugged product.
Its a audit application used by field personnel who do not have a Internet connection at times. Traditionally the field person was completing a hard copy questionnaire and returning the documents into the office for data entry. Sometimes, the field person would return to the office with a few audits at hand. At times, a week or even a month will pass before an audit can be completed as well.
We are hoping with TeamStudio Unplugged we can have the field person use a tablet and complete a audit in the field and replicate when they are online again. This resolves some business problems with the traditional way:
- Chance of audit getting lost or damaged
- Audit is not entered in time, which means non satisfactory items may not get addressed on time.
- Auditor can’t read his/her writing
- Chance of auditor gets confused with multiple audits and mixing them up
- Redundant work
Our audit application contains one main form and seven response documents. The response documents are sections of an audit. The sections contain multiple questions related to the topic. The database has keywords, question document keywords, and DBLookups into other Notes databases. The database also has 28000 documents in it.
Installing the Unplugged NSF on the server was straight forward. Its very easy to deploy a NSF databases to the tablet and remove it using the administration NSF.
Lesson learned #1: Testing a unplugged project takes longer because you have to test disconnected and connected. Then you have to test the classic version to make sure you didn’t break anything (regression testing).
Lesson learned #3: The performance was very poor making the application impossible to test in a day when we got started. The issue was related to the synchronizing of 28,000 documents. You will want to only synchronize the documents important to you while your in the field conducting an audit. In the administration client, each application you want to deploy has a field for a replication formula. I suggest building this in the Select of a test view first to make sure you get all the documents you need. For example, I need all the main documents and response documents. Then I found out you need to include all the questions and keywords… duh, so your replication formula needs to include all documents required by the form and fields on that form. This greatly improved my performance, now I wait about 5 seconds for a synchronization to complete.
Lesson learned #4: Debugging. Debugging server side is done through regular XPages methods when your not on the tablet. When your on the tablet, you must turn on all your debugging options. What this does is send a trace to the Unplugged Log NSF on the server. There you can find all your exceptions. Another thing you can do is use Firebug Lite on the tablet using my other post.
Keep you posted, the project is taking longer than expected.
The choice is a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2″ tablet running Android 4.4 KitKat. The reason for this is because
1) our employees mostly use Samsung S3 mobile phones.
2) Android is open source supported by developers around the world providing free source code and you can find help easily. In 2013 Android had 84% of the market.
3) Android and XPages both support Java.
4) The Android tablet interface is easy to use, and so is iOS in this case. Neither of the two try to be a desktop and tablet at the same time.
5) Order a case with a keyboard. I have fat fingers, so sometimes the touch screen is better because the virtual keys are double the size of the blue tooth keyboard keys, so your typing with index finders rather than traditional home row typing. Keyboard still comes in handy for other characters because they are easier to find on the keyboard.
I’m so far very happy with the TeamStudio Unplugged product. I’m extremely happy with the Samsung Galaxy. It was by far the right choice!